06 February 2013
Sanyo & (ahem) LaPerla
I've never owned a Sanyo raincoat. Can't vouch for it keeping you dry or warm. Not sure how Sanyo slipped by my 27 years of business raincoat ownership. 1985 was the year I bought the first one. A Burberry knock off at an unremembered men's discount store somewhere in Manhattan. The wool collar sold me. It looked just like the one Mike Wallace 'popped' on 60 Minutes.
Just after buying my coat, I spent a couple weeks watching a buddy's apartment and his two pet cray fish in Spanish Harlem. Walking to the subway one morning, a couple kids, no more than 12 or 13, came up a hill on bicycles and one of 'em yelled as he rode by, "Hey, Asshole! You're supposed to tie the belt not run it through the buckle." I hope that kid's blogging today.
I have a never ending supply of stories about raincoats. How I lost 'em, how I found 'em, how I destroyed 'em and how one, my first real Burberry, got me all wet. Well, half of me. My stories, save the lady who met me at the airport wearing only LaPerla under her trench, can't come close to the Sanyo story.
Above, is the first Sanyo raincoat made in Japan after WWII out of surplus parachute silk. Made for women, there was a waterproof finish covering the 'chute. Turned out to be a hit with the ladies and Sanyo was on its way.
I looked at three models. The Gold at $495, the Cortlandt at $798 and the Savina at $995.
Simple and straight forward. It won't kill you to leave it in a Clearwater Beach hotel room. It has a lining but it ain't gonna get you through a Chicago winter; not that any raincoat lining will. If you have kids going to college in a few years, drive a Buick and own a beat up piece of shit that's been a train car for the past seven years -- This is your coat. Sit on the upper deck of the 6:31 Metra, and as you drape the Gold over the railing you will not be embarrassed by the Sanyo label -- Unlike the guy with the Jos. A Bank raincoat who sells scented urinal cakes for a living.
It comes with a belt. I don't like belts. Unless it's Friday. I had a belted Aquascutum in the early '90s when I was making a worker's compensation video for Major League Baseball at Comisky Park. I was 30 pounds lighter and that belt made me look like a sausage link. You can dump the belt on this all cotton number but I'd keep the wool collar. You'll look like Mike Wallace. A 44" length gives you plenty of room and keeps you from looking like so many of these uber-urban storm troopers in short black trenches and black suede Ferragamos. Geez, I hate those guys.
The top of the line Savina is made in Japan and looks it.You can see and feel the difference in this coat which I would not want to leave in a hotel room. And while it tops out on price, I suspect it's a real steal and a helluva good value. At 38", it's only six inches shorter than the Cortlandt -- far from storm trooper length.
Made in a factory whose region was hit hard by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Sanyo will keep the production there to help out the economy. The Japanese symbols on the label above stand for, "Integity, Quality and Beauty." For me, this coat stood out from all the others. It wouldn't look bad with a girlfriend's LaPerla either. Not a bad idea for Valentine's Day. I mean, if you're gonna do it right -- Might as well go all the way.